From Convolutions towards Spikes: The Environmental Metric that the Community currently MissesDownload PDF

Published: 22 Oct 2021, Last Modified: 05 May 2023NeurIPS-AI4Science PosterReaders: Everyone
Keywords: Environment-friendly computation, Novel Evaluation Metric, Spiking Neural Networks, Neuromorphic Computing, Nature-inspired Models
Abstract: Today, the AI community is obsessed with state-of-the-art scores (80% papers in NeurIPS) as the major performance metrics, due to which an important parameter, i.e., the environmental metric, remains unreported. Computational capabilities were a limiting factor a decade ago; however, in foreseeable future circumstances, the challenge will be to develop environment-friendly and power-efficient algorithms. The human brain, which has been optimizing itself for almost a million years, consumes the same amount of power as a typical laptop. Therefore, developing nature-inspired algorithms is one solution to it. In this study, we show that currently used ANNs are not what we find in nature, and why, although having lower performance, spiking neural networks, which mirror the mammalian visual cortex, have attracted much interest. We further highlight the hardware gaps restricting the researchers from using spike-based computation for developing neuromorphic energy-efficient microchips on a large scale. Using neuromorphic processors instead of traditional GPUs might be more environment friendly and efficient. These processors will turn SNNs into an ideal solution for the problem. This paper presents in-depth attention highlighting the current gaps, the lack of comparative research, while proposing new research directions at the intersection of two fields- neuroscience and deep learning. Further, we define a new evaluation metric 'NATURE' for reporting the carbon footprint of AI models.
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